Description

In the 1980s Chris Steele-Perkins captured the rapidly changing social landscape of Britain. He found an appreciation of “those qualities of Englishness I had not properly realised that I valued, such as the traditions – however flawed – of democracy, a rough tolerance, a capacity for self-mockery, a stoutness of spirit,” Steele-Perkins says. “Yet the mindless aggression, the hypocrisy, the chauvinism that narrows horizons and twists perspectives became even more detestable.”

His images are both familiar yet uncomfortable for Brits to witness: “I think there’s always that undercurrent of violence around, especially after a few drinks have gone down,” Steele-Perkins says of the fight in a Camden club, pictured here.

Everything shifts as you move, and different things come into focus at different points of your life, and you try to articulate that

Chris Steele-Perkins

Chris Steele-Perkins was born in 1947 in Rangoon, Burma and at the age of two, moved to England with his father. At the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, he studied psychology and worked for the student newspaper; he graduated with honors in 1970 and started to work as a freelance photographer, moving to London in 1971.

Steele-Perkins has produced some of the most iconic images of British society in the last half century, exploring youth subcultures, poverty and community with artful sensitivity. His more than 45-year career has seen him travel widely, making significant bodies of work in his home country of Myanmar, as well as Japan, Africa and Afghanistan, all of which have received critical acclaim.

Steele Perkins became a member of Magnum Photos in 1979 and continues to work in Britain and abroad.

© Chris Steele-Perkins | Magnum Photos

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